Colors bets big with 24 premier on 4 Oct

MUMBAI: It's raining shows on Colors. The channel has ambitions to retain its audiences and lure new ones with its slew of new show launches which it hopes will send its TVTs on an expansion mode. Just as Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa ended, in came Bigg Boss and, on 4 October, the international thriller 24 is set to premier on the Viacom18 general entertainment channel.

The weekend slot of Friday and Saturday at 10 pm is what it has been given. This means that Uttaran and Bani will now have just 4 episodes a week and Comedy Nights with Kapil will be cut down to just once a week, that is Sunday, which could be disappointing for comedy lovers who have made it a hit. But Colors' management says they don't have a choice. "We have a problem of plenty. So shows need to be dropped to accommodate them," says Colors CEO Raj Nayak.

Safari Storme is said to have paid around Rs 16-18 crore to be the presenting sponsor. Next - part of the Videocon group - has been signed on as one of the associate sponsors. As per sources, the show has been created at 20 times the cost of a normal fiction show making it Colors' biggest fiction property.

Nayak says that the channel has mastered the art of monetizing big properties. That the show may run into losses is also expected but hopes are that it may just click with the audience. They believe it should get TVTs equivalent to TRPs totting between 2.8 to 3.

The show has big plans on the digital front. Keeping the peg as 'Race against time' which is what 24 is all about, all activities undertaken revolve around it ranging from contests which play on the word '24'. "The concepts will be time-bound," says Colors digital head Vivek Srivastava.

On social media, special behind-the-scenes, exclusive pictures, chats and possibly a hangout with Anil Kapoor are all in the line up to build the buzz around the show. Special emphasis is being given to build characters on social media and digital platforms to get fans to continue to stay connected with them. "We don't have the luxury of 100 episodes to establish a character here," says Srivastava.

Although the views that a show gets through digital is much less compared to television, online activity helps generate conversations. The Colors Facebook page annually gets about 150 million views. However, it is very important since it helps them create brand bearers through normal people. An announcement on the application is expected soon, which Srivastava says is going to be very unusual. On the day of launch, a 15-minute preview is expected to be played before the actual telecast of the first episode.

Made like a movie and treated like one as well. That's the channel's mantra to market this big property. The first phase includes visits to HSM (Hindi Speaking Markets) where Kapoor will interact with lay viewers, media and opinion leaders. Visits to Jaipur, Delhi and Patna have already been wrapped up successfully while more are in the pipeline. Integrations on Bigg Boss and Kapil and a few other fiction shows such as Madhubala are also to be expected in the coming days.

Someone switching on the radio will soon hear something about 24 every 24 minutes on almost all FM channels including the big boys 98.3FM Mirchi and Red FM 93.5. Trailers have been planned to air on over 60 channels including news, regional and music. Print advertisements are planned to appear near the launch date in all leading editions of newspapers such as Times of India, Dainik Jagran.

Theatres have already started playing promos during Madras Cafe and Grand Masti and the soon-to-premier Besharam is next in line. "We have something innovative planned in the outdoor space," says Colors marketing director Rajesh Iyer.

Speaking about the unusual timing for the show weekend programming (nonfiction) head Manisha Sharma says that it cuts out pressure from Comedy Nights with Kapil since comedy writing is not an easy task. 24 will take one episode's place for three months after which Kapil will be back to two episodes per week. "The time slot is perfect because people who go to office can come home and watch it," says Nayak.

Plans are already afoot for the second season, even though the first season is yet to go on air. Now that's what we call advance booking!

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